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Not thinking…

It seems the David Rock’s view of insights might be spot on! (see http://www.davidrock.net/2009/05/my-new-book-your-brain-at-work-now_18.html).  It is certainly how I would describe how I came to a new level of clarity and approach to my research while on vacation.  I had stopped reading and thinking consciously about doctorate research while I enjoyed some free time.  After a nap one evening I awoke to a strong desire to open my laptop and store what would come from a burst of enthusiasm!!  I cannot be sure if this is the final blend direction wise, nevertheless, one reason for my blog is to track these types of shifts in my thinking.  Here follows are the results of my insights.

Firstly, I came up with a refined research question:

“Can coaching managers in immersive worlds lead to value shifts towards sustainable business practices?”

I have left the ‘in immersive worlds’ in italics as this vehicle will be a choice based on the strengths and weaknesses of the medium.

Secondly, I began to write some further simple questions that will need to be answered over the coming two months that perhaps could be developed as discrete literature review papers.

1. What do immersive worlds offer and what are their limitations?

2. What are sustainable business practices?

3. What values underpin sustainable business practices?

4. What type of coaching will be effective and scalable, 1:1, peer or group coaching?

5. What are values and value shifts?

6. What would the design of a MBA course entail?

In the same session, come further insights to potential outcomes of the research including: a new elective course delivered to MBA students, and to be later offered to non students; perhaps a new coaching model within immersive worlds and clarification on Sustainability Values and Practices.  All of which seem significant to me, however, is the focus still to wide?

My intention remains strong to use research methodology such as action research, qualitative interviewing, and the use of Web 2.0, immersive worlds and wiki’s.  I too had thoughts about who would be interested in sponsoring research such as the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group, Strathclyde University Business School and immersive world Sustainability groups.

Finally, planning of what phases and in what order will the research be completed also came to the surface!


I. Literature Review, coaching certification, obtain sponsorship, initial surveys on sustainability, and methodology research (1 Year)

II. More Literature Review, design of course content and action research Iterations (2 Years)

III. Findings and discussion against Literature (6 Months)

IV. Thesis & defense (1 Year)

Might be time to get some feedback now, nevertheless what is important here is that stepping back, letting the brain quietly work on its maps, and doing something completely different did in fact reflect Rock’s view amongst other neuroscience researchers who say sometimes the prefrontal cortex actually gets in your way!

Try it sometime – those ideas one gets in the shower or the middle of the night just might be where our real insights come from and should not be ignored!

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